New School Year – New Look

Well, it’s almost time to start teaching again – August 20 to be exact … well, not so exact, I always let my online students in a week early to have them do some surveys that help me place them in teams. Anyway, I thought I’d change this blog template to signify a new year. Funny thing, it’s not January. After being in education for many, many … many years, my new year starts in the fall – it used to be the weekend after Labor Day. Now, being in the midwest rather than California, we start in the middle of August … still strange having to work on my birthday. 🙂

So, what am I expecting for this new school year? A couple of posts have me thinking. First, Vicki Davis’ post from a couple of days ago, Tips on starting the school year and Jeff Utecht’s, Refocusing on what matters. Vicky reminded me of some important things to focus on when starting each class, organizing my face-to-face sessions, and rewarding my students. Jeff’s post reinforced me in my belief in what I’m doing.

All in all, I’m thinking about how to approach my undergrad class – they are all entering the secodary teacher education program. As I’ve talked about before, they are a hard sell. Now I’ve asked my department to add “Technology enriched” to my course listings in the schedule, but that won’t start until Spring 2008. So, I really have to believe in what I’m asking them to do; present everything in a way that they will understand, and provide the support that they will need. I also need to remind them weekly that my focus is student-centered, teaching independence and interdependence and moving them away from teacher-dependence.

This means moving from this:

To something more like this:

Bloggers Cafe

They will be using many of the Web 2.0 tool – working on a wiki in teams to develop a digital story; blogging about what educators are saying (watch for their comments on your blog), compiling a bibliography of educational standards websites in, and more. All with the purpose of giving them ideas and practice for their future teaching.

Well, keep checking in here to find out how they are doing. If you are a middle school or secondary teacher and you’d like to be a guest in my class (Wednesdays, 10:00-11:50 CST) leave a message and maybe we can work something out. They need to hear what real life teaching is like from those of you in the field.


One thought on “New School Year – New Look

  1. Sometimes when school has already been underway for quite some time, I like to stop and think about what I expected the first day……am I where I wanted to be in my courses? Am I teaching to my own expectations? What did I promise my students that I didn’t deliver? Reading your reflections on the new school year (including new look!), made me stop and do a little review of my first 5 weeks. I’m where I thought I’d be….I’m teaching to my own expectations (usually)…..but you mentioned “rewarding my students.” What do I “reward” my students with? I don’t know, but I will begin. Sometimes I think reward for them is a simple thing like laughing at one of their silly jokes, and sometimes I think they feel under appreciated for their attention to Julius Caesar. Food for thought….

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